Above: Promo image via Slashfilm.
Man, I picked the wrong time to move out of San Diego.
At Comic Con this Friday, Discovery Channel is hosting a panel consisting of artists who are working on a new show called Reign of the Dinosaurs, a Walking With Dinosaurs style drama/documentary being produced by a company called Creative Differences, including several former Pixar animators (some initial reports erroneously said Pixar itself was producing the show). It's currently scheduled to debut in 2011. Scott Hartman announced this on the DML today, and I'm assuming this is the project he's been waxing mysterious about on the message boards lately. Along with Scott, the project is working closely with several notable artists including paleoart/sculpture god David Krentz (and it sounds like he's even getting his mosasaur sequence so heinously excised from the aborted, naturalistic version of Disney's Dinosaur).
In my opinion these kind of top grade dinosaur shows need to happen at least once per decade, for the good of humanity (or just my personal sanity). WWD was hugely influential, but it's now 11 years old so it's also hugely outdated. Many casual paleo fans may not be aware of this, and a good high-profile TV special like this can help inject some new discoveries into the public consciousness the way press releases on the AP via Google News just can't. Looking at the talent involved, it would take some MAJOR intentional meddling to screw up the accuracy of this show. Just reading the press release, found here, is getting me amped for this thing, especially assuming it follows the WWD pattern of featuring one ecological community per episode. You've got the old standbys like T. rex and Therizinosaurus (though it is kind of amazing Therizinosaurus can be considered an old standby these days), but it also promises to feature a "giant, dinosaur eating frog" (i.e. Beelzebufo, and presumably the rest of the LK Malagasy fauna like Rahonavis and Masiakasaurs, all of which have never appeared in animated form as far as I know, except maybe on Dinosaur Train), and, get this:
A "Jurassic flying squirrel."
Hear that? That's Volaticotherium. We're getting the bloody Daohugou Biota on TV. Castorocauda, Scansoriopteryx, Tianyulong, Darwinopterus, Anchiornis, and Daohugocorixa (though maybe I'm the only one excited about that last one). Eat it, Yixian. Though there does appear to be a Caudipteryx on the promo poster, so maybe we're getting both? A man can dream...
Oh, and given the Allosaurus featured on the poster and the involvement of Scott Hartman, could this be the first television appearance of a certain Morrison formation troodontid?
I'm hoping the ComiCon panel will show up on YouTube, and I'll report any further details that may get leaked.